Darlene Marie Fischette

February 21, 1946 - January 2, 2020

Darlene Marie (Groat) Fischette formerly of Hilton, NY, passed away at Signature Health at College Park in Fort Myers on January 2, 2020.

Darlene was born in Lyons, NY, on February 21, 1946, to Russell and Anna (Buttaccio) Groat.  She was raised in Clyde, NY, which provided a near idyllic existence so often associated with small town life.

From the beginning, she proved to be intelligent, spunky, and strong-willed, (some might even say she was a bit stubborn) qualities that remained with her throughout life. Along with her independent spirit was a kind heart punctuated by a warm smile and gleaming green eyes.

After graduating from Clyde Central School in 1963 and working brief stints for Jackson & Perkins and Parker Hannifin Corp., Darlene began her long-term employment with Kodak in Rochester, NY.  She held several positions at Kodak, but no matter what the job, she did it earnestly.  She was well-liked and respected by her co-workers.  Darlene made a point of calling everyone by name and wore a constant smile.  As a result, she gained the nickname “Smiley”.

Darlene married the love of her life, Jim Fischette, on June 13, 1970, at St. John’s Church in Clyde, NY.  Thus, began a 49-year marriage full of laughter, love and lots of entertaining.  Darlene and Jim built a home in Hilton, NY, which included an in-ground swimming pool.  Countless gatherings were held at their home where family members, including nieces and nephews, enjoyed scores of summer days. 

Darlene and Jim lived in Hilton for many years until retiring and moving to sunshine and snowless roads in Fort Myers, Florida. They purchased a home in the lovely Gulf Harbour community.  Retirement and all that it offered was a well-deserved reward for Darlene’s decades of hard work.  She loved living in Florida. Among the highlights of retired life included traveling to Europe as well as destinations within the United States. Darlene made a multitude of friends and had an active social life.  Her gracious hosting, inviting personality, and sympathetic listening drew others to her.  

True to her nature, Darlene, along with her husband Jim, was one of the originators of the Gulf Habour Memorial Foundation.  The foundation sponsored fund-raising activities which gave financial support to various causes in both the Fort Myers area and areas around the country.  Darlene gave her all to this important undertaking.  Likewise, Darlene and Jim were co-founding members of the Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club, a club they enjoyed for many years.

Also during her life in Fort Myers, Darlene launched an unexpected endeavor: providing pet services to residents of Gulf Habour.  She looked after numerous pets, and the residents of Gulf Harbor became accustomed to seeing Darlene walk her dog friends along the streets.  She loved this job and loved the animals that were in her care. These little friends, as well as their owners, created fond memories for Darlene.  

  Darlene, Dean or Deanie as she was affectionately known by her family and close friends, was unassuming, practical, and selfless.  She will be remembered by all those who loved her for her heartening laughter, that sweet smile and her generosity to family and friends, especially through the multitude of gatherings and holidays hosted at her home. For Darlene, it was always about making her family and friends comfortable and happy.  Although she had no children, she took care of others, especially her family, with a motherly spirit.  She especially loved her nieces and nephews and they surely loved their aunt Darlene.

No doubt, she will be cheering from afar for her beloved Buffalo Bills, Syracuse University’s basketball team, and her favorite basketball conference, the Big East. 

Darlene is survived by her loving, devoted husband, James Fischette; her brother, Steven (Kathy) Groat; sisters, Linda (David) Frank, Pamela (Bob) Iocco, Marybeth Tyler; brothers-in-law, Jack (Sandy) Fischette, Frank (Donna) Fischette, Jerry (Donna Fischette Robbins-deceased) Robbins; many nieces and nephews; numerous cousins; and too many friends to count. 

Jim extends his deepest gratitude to the staff at Hope House and Signature Health for the outstanding care that Darlene received. 

A Memorial Mass will be held 11:00 AM Friday, January 24, 2020 at St. Columbkille Catholic Church, 12171 Iona Road, Fort Myers, FL 33908.

A Celebration of Darlene’s life will be held in her hometown of Clyde, NY, later in the year. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to Hope Hospice, 9470 Healthpark Circle, Fort Myers, FL  33908.

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Fort Myers, is entrusted with final care.


  1. Deb D'Amato Jan 4, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    I grew up in the Groat house and I am so thankful for all of the great memories I shared with every one of them. I can still see Darlene in the living room talking and laughing. She was so much fun and always added sunshine to my life. May God bless her and keep her forever in his hands.

  2. John and Diana Marro Jan 4, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Our sincere sympathy to you Jim and to the family
    Such a lovely person has left us but her memories will be here and we will cherish those

  3. Sandy Carnevale Jan 4, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    RIIP my dear friend. My heart is broken. So many good memories growing up. We sure had a good life in the 50 and 60’s. Prayers to Jim and your family.

  4. Mary Ellen Pelkey Carpenter Jan 5, 2020 at 6:33 am

    I am with a heavy heart……Dean and I spent so many wonderful summer adventures together. We may not have seen each other in later years….but we shared a bond of friendship for many years. My prayers are with Jimmy ….the Groat family ….Fischette family…..and all those who loved her. May she Rest In Peace…….until we all meet again.

  5. RONALD VITTICORE Jan 5, 2020 at 7:15 am


  6. Pat Warner and Frank Ruggieir Jan 5, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Wonderful obituary for Darlene.
    We remember fondly the many dinners/parties in our homes.
    Darlene was certainly a special person and will be missed.
    Pat and Frank

  7. Tom & Nel Colarocco Jan 5, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Sincerest sympathies to you and your family. I practically grew up in the groat house and it holds some if my most precious memories. Darlene is a big part of them. She was my go to person for my problems in high school! You are a very special person too Jim as you were always nice to me and others.
    Lots of good times riding with the gang around Clyde in your
    car. ’56 chevy.
    All our love and kind thoughts go out to you guys. May ” Dean rest in peace.,

  8. Julie Dapolito-Terrell & family Jan 5, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    My sincere sympathy to you Jim and the entire Groat family. 💕 I have many fond memories of Darlene and her infectious smile. Some of my fondest were when I was a young girl. Darlene & Jim used to snowmobile with my family and I with the snowmobile club each Sunday during the winter. Oh the fun we had! Rest in Peace my friend. Until we meet again. XO

  9. Dana Gage Jan 8, 2020 at 9:56 am

    “I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
    When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them.”
    Memories remain dear Deanie. The spirit moves on but does not leave us.
    You are loved and missed.
    My deepest sympathies to the entire family, and of course to her fondest love, Jimmy.

  10. Nancy Maloy Jan 9, 2020 at 8:04 am

    I am so sorry to read of Darlene’s passing. My deepest sympathy to Jim and all of Darlene’s family. May she rest in peace.

  11. Jeanne Walczak Jan 9, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    To Jim, My heartfelt sympathy in your loss of Darlene.

  12. Bob and Peggy Oneil Fess Jan 10, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Jim, Steve and Pam… Our prayers and thoughts are with you all and your family during this most difficult time. Darlene surely was a lover of life!
    Bob and Peggy(O’Neil) Fess

  13. claire snell Jan 16, 2020 at 11:49 am

    I cannot think of anything to say about Darlene that wasn’t said in her obituary. Although we did not see each other often, I was always happy to see her when they came back to Clyde. May you rest in peace. You will always be in my heart.

  14. Rita Keltner Jan 16, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. Darlene opened her heart and her home to Jake and I. We shared so many celebrations together, as well as simple evening filled with laughter and friendship. She will always be in our hearts and memories filled with her love, laughter and smile.

  15. Polly Fischette Jan 18, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    My sincere sympathy to you Jim and the entire family. I considered Deannie one of my dearest friends and shall treasure all the memories and laughter we shared. After I came back from MCC, Deannie and I became bosom buddies working at Parker and just hanging. Spent many, many hours at the Groat house in those days. She will be missed immensely. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal and love leaves a memory no one can steal. You two were great together. I can only imagine she and Butch will be looking over us. We were both lucky to have found them. God Bless!

  16. Bill & Gail Lembach Jan 21, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Jim, Gail and I are truly sorry for your loss. We have wonderful memories of the four of us doing some crazy things during our adventures at Kodak. All our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family members.

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